Pie Party Trivets

2011 piefest

One of the benefits of having our birthdays so close together is that we have the perfect excuse to have one big annual party.  We both like throwing parties built around an activity; we used to host a pumpkin carving party.  It only made sense given the time of the year.  It was a great family event where battery powered saws and knives were pulled out- Fun for all!  After five years of the pumpkin party we decided to try something new.  Last year we came up with a new theme.  A pie baking contest.

We both love pie and what better way to get all the pie you can eat than to host a pie baking contest?   If you’re going to have a contest you have to provide some sort of award.  It’s amazing how the competitive spirit comes out when you offer awards.  I figured that trivets would be good awards.  They’re functional and have a nice flat surface to put some text on to commemorate the event.  Last year I was interested in casting aluminum so I made a cast aluminum trivet for the prize.  I planned on making several trivets- one for each category and one for the overall winner.  There were lots of technical difficulties along the way and in the end only one award made it all the way to completion.

Last years grand prize

Last year's grand prize

In order to not have the same troubles this year we decided to work in a more flexible medium.  Our friend Alessandra who is an accomplished ceramicist and has a complete ceramics studio at her home graciously agreed to let us make some trivets at her studio for this year’s awards.   I had (what seemed like) a clever approach for this year’s project.

CNC cutting out stamp

I cut a stamp out of wood on my CNC machine which we could use to press into  clay to make an embossed image.  It would be simple to whip out a bunch of trivets.  Bam! Bam! Bam! and you’re done!  Alas, it was not to be.  The clay we were using was way stickier than the plasticine that I had used to test the stamp.

Stamp

After several tries it was clear that the clay was just was not interested in co-operating.   Quick! What’s plan B?  We cut out ten circles and hand decorated them with little patterns around the edges to spice them up.  The writing on the face of the trivets would have to wait until the glazing phase.  Alessandra called a week later to let me know that the trivets had been fired and were ready for glazing.

Glazing day was also the day I was baking my first test pie for another local baking contest that I had entered.  I wanted to get Alessandra’s opinion of the experimental pie recipe I was using but I didn’t have time to finish baking it all the way before it was time to go.  I enlisted (conscripted?) Dumpling to help me carry the half baked pie over and then help glaze the trivets that evening.  It’s been a busy pie month around here!

Dumpling glazing trivets

Dumpling  picked out five different pairs of color combinations of glazes which we used to put lettering on the trivets.  It was a tedious process of tracing the original design to transfer it with carbon paper to the clay blank.  Next, we went over the transferred image with a wax pencil to darken the lines and to provide a guide for the glaze.  Finally, we painted in the glaze between the wax outlines.  They were looking promising. I couldn’t wait to see them fired.

unfired trivets

About a week later the trivets were done and Dumpling and I went by to pick them up.  They looked great.  They were completely different from what I had originally imagined but that’s the fun of coming up with something new that you’ve never tried before.

finished trivet awards

This year we had an abundance of awards. There were lots of winners and every one of them got a commemorative Mike and Molly’s 2011 Piefest award!

Tomorrow we share the winner and some recipes from the contest.

Ever wonder how we afford our wonderful lifestyle?  We shared our story over at The Debt Myth!  Jackie is a fantastic blogger and has a series on debt-free tales where we shared our saga on how we did it:  ‘Rolling in Debt.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I wish I lived near you for many reasons, but this is definitely the biggest reason – you guys look like you have so much fun! And I bow to your goddess-of-all-things-crafty ways!

    • Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      I can’t wait for telaportation to become a reality.

  2. Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Pretty legit trophies, considering you had to move to plan B at the last second.  Where did you get the CNC machine?

    I’ve wanted to build one for a while, although I don’t know what I’d make with it once I had it, haha.

    • Posted October 25, 2011 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      I built it.  I mostly followed plans from here.  This is a good place to get info from too.  Cnc machines are awesome but they do suck up your time & $.

      • Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Pretty slick Mike, nice work!  I used to go to Lumen Lab back when it was a Projector and CNC forum – now they’re all CNC.  I built a projector, but never crossed over.  I hope I do get to it eventually, though

        • Posted October 26, 2011 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          How did your projector come out?  I built one too but cheaped out and just used an overhead projector.  It wasn’t really bright enough.  I’m actually building a new CNC with a buddy and we’re using the lumenlab micro as a starting point.  I like a lot of their design ideas.  I’ll post pics as we go.  

          • Posted October 26, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

             I ended up making two… the first one was a PSOne screen with 6 CF bulbs.  There was something on the forum so I tossed that one together in a weekend… and it looked nice and came up with a ‘good enough’ picture for what it was.

            The second one was opportunistic – we had a 17″ monitor with a broken stand.  Prime PJ candidate!  I bought a used 11″ OHP and used a program to keep all the video in the upper left hand corner of the monitor.  That one was pretty ugly, but it did the job.

            Definitely post updates on the CNC… you’ll have at least one reader, haha!

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